IRAN WATCH CANADA

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Narges Mohammadi - Spokesperson for Human Rights Defender Center in Iran : Hijab & Chastity bill = Violation Against Woman


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Soheil Arabi - Is Sentenced to Death penalty for insulting the prophet ....Don't Let this man die ....In this video Iranian Lawyer and Human Rights defender Mohammad Mostafaei speaks against Death Penalty and Soheil Arabi....

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Human Rights Watch Honors for Persecuted Writers


For Immediate Release

Iran: Honors for Persecuted Writers
One Winner Rearrested Shortly After Release

(New York, November 24, 2014) – Five Iranians are among 35 writers to win the prestigious Hellman-Hammett award for courage and conviction in the face of political persecution, Human Rights Watch said today. The other 30 winners come from 11 countries.

Security and judicial authorities in Iran have continued their crackdown on free expression despite hopes that Hassan Rouhani’s election as president in 2013 would bring greater rights protections. On September 30, 2014, security authorities arrested Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, one of the five Iranian recipients of the Hellman-Hammett award, only five weeks after his release from a four-year prison sentence. Iran is one of the world’s most prolific jailers of writers, according to Reporters Without Borders. As of July 2014, at least 65 journalists, bloggers, and social media activists were held in Iran’s prisons on various charges related to their speech or writings.

“These brave Iranians remind us of the vital role that journalists and writers play, regardless of the risks to their lives and careers, in exposing or speaking out against oppression,” said Emma Daly, communications director at Human Rights Watch. “These prestigious Hellman-Hammett awards should both raise awareness of the winners’ contributions to upholding free speech, and increase pressure on their governments to cease repressing this fundamental human right.”

The Hellman-Hammett grants are awarded annually to writers from around the world who have been targets of political persecution or human rights abuses. A distinguished selection committee awards the cash grants to honor and assist such writers.

The grants are named for the American playwright Lillian Hellman and her longtime companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. Both were questioned by US congressional committees about their political beliefs and affiliations during the aggressive anti-communist investigations inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. Hellman suffered professionally and had trouble finding work. Hammett spent time in prison.

In 1989, the trustees appointed by Hellman in her will asked Human Rights Watch to devise a program to help writers targeted for expressing views that their governments oppose, for criticizing government officials or actions, or for writing about subjects of public interest that their governments did not want reported.

Over the past 25 years, more than 700 writers from 92 countries have received Hellman/Hammett grants. More than US$3 million has been granted to writers facing persecution. The program also makes small emergency grants to writers who must leave their country to escape persecution or who need urgent medical treatment after serving prison terms or enduring torture.

“The Hellman-Hammett grants are intended to assist writers who have suffered because their ideas or reporting offends those in power,” Daly said. “Many of those honored with these awards share a common aim with Human Rights Watch: to protect the vulnerable by shining a light on human rights abuses and building pressure for change.”


The five Iranian recipients of the Hellman-Hammett grants are:

Hassan Asadi Zeidabadi
Zeidabadi has contributed to Persian journals and websites on political and legal matters in Iran, attempting to promote press freedom, freedom of expression and human rights. Since 2007, Zeidabadi has been a member of the central committee of Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat (Office to Consolidate Unity’s Alumni Student Association), a reform-oriented student rights group that works to promote democracy and human rights in Iran. He’s founder and secretary of the group’s human rights committee. Zeidabadi has also acted as spokesperson of the Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI), which seeks to address human rights violations in Asia and in Australia. In Iran, following the disputed presidential election in 2009, he drew attention to cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of political activists and took a leading role in promoting the rights of women, students, and workers, leading to his own arrest and detention by security forces and intelligence authorities.

Authorities prosecuted Zeidabadi on charges that included “assembly and collusion against the national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the president.” At the end of his trial before a revolutionary court, he received a five-year sentence that he is currently serving in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Siamak Ghaderi
Ghaderi was an editor and reporter for the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s official news agency, for 18 years, before he was dismissed for writing on his blog about street protests and other developments following the disputed 2009 election. In one entry, he interviewed Iranian homosexuals, drawing protest from the authorities, who arrested Ghaderi in July 2010. In January 2011, a revolutionary court sentenced him to four years in prison and a flogging of 60 lashes on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” “creating public anxiety,” and “spreading falsehoods.” The authorities released Ghaderi on July 14, 2014, after he served his prison sentence.

On Tuesday, November 25, the Committee to Protect Journalists will award Ghaderi the 2014 International Press Freedom award.

Ali Asghar Haghdar
Haghdar has authored dozens of books and hundreds of articles, in the fields of thought, philosophy, and literary criticism since 1990. He eventually left Iran because its high level of official censorship prevented him from publishing his work.

Shahram Javadi
Javadi was a journalist for several newspapers in Iran from 2006 to 2009, but he was forced to quit formal journalism amid the unrest and official crackdown that followed the 2009 presidential election. He took up writing again in 2011 on his blog. In October 2012, Ministry of Intelligence agents summoned Javadi for questioning about his blog writings and other activities, and later raided his home while he was absent, prompting him to leave Iran rather than face the risk of arrest. The authorities confiscated his possessions.

Mohammad Reza Pourshajari
Pourshajari, who is known also by his pen name Siamak Mehr, ran a blog called Iran’s Land Report. Security authorities arrested him in September 2010 and charged him with “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “acting against national security,” “insulting religious sanctities,” and “blasphemy,” solely on the basis of his writing and blogging activities. A revolutionary court subsequently sentenced Pourshajari to four years in prison. In jail, he suffered serious health problems, but prison authorities repeatedly denied him temporary release on medical furlough. Pourshajari completed his prison sentence on August 23, 2014, but the authorities have since prevented him from leaving the country.

Mitra Pourshajari, his daughter, told Human Rights Watch that security forces rearrested her father on September 30, 2014, in an area near to Iran’s border with Turkey, and initially held him for 14 days in solitary confinement at an Intelligence Ministry detention facility in the town of Orumiyeh. Mitra Pourshajari said that intelligence agents there interrogated her father for long periods while keeping him handcuffed and blindfolded, and pressured him psychologically. They later transferred him to Ward 8 of Rajai Shahr prison, which Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guards control, where officials subjected him to further interrogation and threatened him, his daughter said. He is now detained in the Central Prison at Karaj.

Mitra Pourshajari told Human Rights Watch that for one month after her father’s arrest, while he was held in solitary confinement and under interrogations, she and other family members had no idea what had happened to him. She said that security and judiciary authorities have leveled an array of charges against Pourshajari, including “acting against the national security,” “propaganda against the state,” attempting to unlawfully exit the country, having contact with and providing information to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and having contact with “anti-revolutionary” and “Zionist organizations.”

On April 10, 2014, several UN rights experts, including Shaheed, called on the Iranian government to provide urgent medical care to both Pourshajari and imprisoned dissident cleric Kazemeini Boroujerdi, and secure their immediate release.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/iran

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Faraz Sanei (English, Persian): +1-310-428-0153 (mobile); or +1-212-216-1290; or saneif@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @farazsanei
In New York, Emma Daly (English, Spanish): +1-212-380-7023 (mobile; or dalye@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @EmmaDaly
In Geneva/Paris, Eric Goldstein (English, French): +1-917-519-4736 (mobile); or goldstr@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @goldsteinricky

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Western Oil Companys Are Plundering the Natural Resources ( OIL )- The Wealth of the Nations in the Middle East !!

IRAN WATCH CANADA:
Directly or indirectly, behind the continues war in the Middle East , OIL is the issue . One Journalist & writer , Linda Mcquaig puts it this way:
" It's The Crude , Dude "
I was following the reason for the drop of oil & Gas prices in the west , by searching in Google , here are the articles i found which is not bad to read and of course it is better always to go beyond the news they feed us and go for hunting and look at things or news inside out . By reading these article we can at least find out what the ISIS is doing benefiting the big oil company's and by doing so , making the oil price cheaper ( bad for middle Eastern countries ) and bad for Middle Eastern people - making them more poorer and more over the destruction of their countries .........
One interested to know more ,can easily google about OIL &ISIS or Big Western OIL Company's ,
can learn more about Middle East continues war and people's miseries . By the way what happened to the Arab Spring ? wasn't that all about freedom in the middle Eastern people? What happened? No matter how much we the Middle Eastern people try to bring Peace and Freedom in our region and countries , but alas , gain nothing , just a circle , going back to the same place we had started. Why ? You figure it up . 
End/


Here's How ISIS Keeps Selling So Much Oil Even While Being Bombed And Banned By The West


AMMAN (Reuters) - Islamic State is still extracting and selling oil in Syria and has adapted its trading techniques despite a month of strikes by U.S.-led forces aimed at cutting off this major source of income for the group, residents, oil executives and traders say.
While the raids by U.S. and Arab forces have targeted some small makeshift oil refineries run by locals in eastern areas controlled by Islamic State, they have avoided the wells the group controls.
This has limited the effectiveness of the campaign and means the militants are able to profit from crude sales of up to $2 million a day, according to oil workers in Syria, former oil executives and energy experts.

"They are in fact still selling the oil and even stepping up exploitation of new wells by tribal allies and taking advantage of the inability of the enemy to hit the oil fields," said Abdullah al-Jadaan, a tribal elder in Shuhail, a town in Syria's oil-producing Deir al-Zor province.
U.S.-led forces want to avoid hitting the oil installations hard because it could hurt civilians more than the militants and could radicalize the local population, analysts say.
On Thursday the United States threatened to impose sanctions on anyone buying oil from Islamic State militants in an effort to disrupt what it said was a $1-million-a-day funding source.
Most of the oil is bought by local traders and covers the domestic needs of rebel-held areas in northern Syria. But some low-quality crude has been smuggled to Turkey where prices of over $350 a barrel, three times the local rate, have nurtured a lucrative cross-border trade.
"Our options are limited unless you hit the wells - but it does not just hit Islamic State, it hits the entire population and that is not something that the U.S. can do very easily," said Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Washington Institute, who focuses on Syria.
"It's a good example of the constraints of trying to bomb your way out of it."
Any bombing of Syria's major oil wells could evoke memories of the 1990-1991 Gulf War when the forces of Iraq's Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and burnt oil wells as they were repelled by U.S.-led forces, causing severe damage to the infrastructure.
Washington wants to preserve parts of Syria's oil infrastructure with the hope that they can be used after the war if Islamic State and the forces of President Bashar al-Assad are defeated, a U.S. official said near the start of the bombing campaign.
One U.S.-led raid destroyed parts of a mobile refinery in eastern Syria but left a tower at the installation intact.
"It wasn't about obliterating the refineries off the face of the map. It was about degrading (Islamic State's) ability to use these refineries," Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told a briefing on Sept. 25.
"We'd like to preserve the flexibility for those refineries to still contribute to a stable economy in what we hope will be a stable country when the Assad regime is not in control anymore."
Over the summer Islamic State was pumping anything between 40,000 to 80,000 bpd of crude oil from the wells it controls in the Deir al-Zor and Hasaka provinces, according to estimates from oil experts, traders and local sources contacted by Reuters.

The International Energy Agency said in a report this month that output in Islamic State-controlled areas had fallen to less than 10,000 bpd as a result of the air strikes.
Local prices of petroleum products however suggest that the strikes have not had a large impact on the supply of illicit oil. A barrel of Islamic State oil sells for around $20, whereas early in 2014 it was selling for $35.
Traders say this is because there were ample stockpiles built up before the strikes and because Islamic State ramped up its production in recent weeks.

PRIVATE CONVOYS ON THE ROAD
Local businessmen have continued to send convoys of up to thirty trucks carrying oil from Islamic State-run wells through insurgent-held parts of Syria during broad daylight without being targeted by the air strikes. The militant group has allowed convoys to pass more quickly through its checkpoints.
It has encouraged customers to load up more than before and has offered discounts and deferred payments to shift more oil, two oil truck drivers and a local trader said.
The group's "oil department" has also told traders in the last two weeks they could load as much as they can and urged them to build stockpiles, something traders say suggests Islamic State thinks the oil wells could still be hit.
Others say that the threat of strikes has even pushed the militant Sunni Muslim group to use its oil wealth more effectively to shore up its local tribal support base.
The group is using its control of oil to strengthen ties with local tribes, rather than just hoarding profits as before, according to residents living in Islamic State-run areas.
It is now allowing some Bedouin tribes in the Deir al-Zor province to tap wells it controls, such as the Bar al Milh, al Kharata, Amra, Okash, Wadi Jureib, Safeeh, Fahda and many other medium and small disused wells in the Jebel Bushra area.

At least nine major tribes have benefited, including ones whose kin spread over the border into Iraq such as the influential Jabour tribe. The groups have largely been supportive of Islamic State.
Traders lured by high profits have continued to build stockpiles and to sell across Syria, even smuggling some into government-held areas.
"The American planes are above us day and night but we no longer care. They cannot be worse than Bashar's barrel bombs," said oil trader Ibrahim Fathallah, who sells low quality products to towns across the rebel-held northwestern Syria.
"We are the ones on the ground and know how to move across our land. They won't stop us for going on to earn a living for our families unless they bomb the hell out of us," he said.
A large trailer carrying 30,000 liters of Islamic State-supplied crude can make $4,000 profit in just one journey lasting a few days, traders say.
Traders say they can double returns by squeezing at least 20 barrels, worth around $400, on the back of a Kia pickup.
"Bombing or no bombing.. we will go there even if there is death because it brings a lot of revenue," said contractor Abdullah Sheikh who has used profits from his fleet of seven trailers to build mobile refineries in the northern town of Manbij.

CIVILIANS SUFFER
While some local businessmen have made large profits from the illicit oil trade, many other civilians have come to depend on the informal market which sprung up since the start of Syria's conflict more than three years ago.

It has been a major source of income for hundreds of thousands of families in rural areas of north and eastern Syria, where people have been displaced or lost jobs.
"The Americans know that these wells have opened an opportunity for many Syrians to benefit who have no links to militants," a Western diplomat familiar with U.S. strategy against Islamic State said.
The U.S-led strikes have knocked out dozens of‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ privately-owned‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ makeshift refineries that had mostly sprung up around Islamic State-controlled land along the border with Turkey. They were used as a hub for smuggling although traders say Turkey has clamped down on smugglers this year.
The plants were constructed by private businesses at a cost of $150,000 to $250,000 and processed 150-300 bpd of Islamic State-supplied crude oil.
Traders say the bombing of these larger refineries may have reduced processing capacity by 20-30 percent but was not having any major impact on the domestic fuel market so far.
Hundreds of smaller scale refineries are spread across swathes of insurgent-held land, making it difficult to hit them. They continue to refine the bulk of crude extracted, according to experts and traders.
The refineries included the one run by trader Mazen Mukhtar, who said his was destroyed by a U.S. Tomahawk missile this week in a direct hit, turning his family's life savings into a heap of mangled metal and burnt crude oil.

The mini refinery, that used primitive distillation and heating methods, cost him around $20,000 to build in a waste plot several kilometers away from his home. The Islamic State-run oil wells that supply it have been untouched.
"Why are they destroying our livelihood...do they want to throw our children to the street to start begging?" the 48-year-old said.
"Those who buy this fuel are only the poor who use it to make bread and cook their daily meals to feed their families. Why don't they go after the real terrorist Assad and his gang."

(Editing by Sylvia Westall and Anna Willard)
Link:
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-islamic-
state-keeps-up-syrian-oil-flow-despite-us-led-strikes-2014-10

Read More :
1- Here's How ISIS Uses Oil To Fuel Its Advances

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-how-islamic-

state-uses-syrias-oil-to-fuel-its-advances-2014-9#ixzz3JrECv69E

2- 
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-how-islamic-state-
uses-syrias-oil-to-fuel-its-advances-2014-9
In an oil field in northeastern Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who have hijacked parts of the country's energy industry in their bid to build a caliphate.
Sales at Shadada field, described by an oil trader, are just one example of how the group, which has seized land in war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq, is creating its own economy through a series of pragmatic trades.

It is cutting deals with local traders and buyers, even businessmen who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and some of its oil has made its way back to government buyers through a series of middlemen.
"Islamic State makes not less than $2 million daily that allows them to pay salaries and maintain their operations," said a former Western oil executive who worked in a foreign oil firm operating in Syria before the crisis and who is familiar with the nascent oil market.
The United States, which has been bombing Islamic State positions in Iraq, has said it is prepared to extend the campaign into Syria, which has been racked by civil war for more than three years, and has said it will train more than 5,000 Syrian rebel fighters to counter the advancing group.
But oil sales mean Islamic State, an al Qaeda splinter group, can rely less on foreign donations and attract more recruits and supporters with its newfound wealth, something that is likely to make the group harder to stamp out in Syria.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-how-islamic-state-uses-syrias-oil-to-fuel-its-advances-2014-9#ixzz3JrFHO69j




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Friday, November 21, 2014

More about the Early Release of Hossein Derakhshan the Iranian blogger .........


There are different opinions on the early release of Hossein Derakhshan in the internet/ cyber space  . For example the website known as " Digarban " wrote:
" There are views about his early release from prison ,because of his collaboration with security forces and judiciary system against those who were arrested during green movement uprising . Also his early release coincide with the newly appointed head of " Seda va Sima " the Regime Radio and TV station boss Mr. Mohammad Sarfaraz who was acting before in Qods forces and he is the founder of Press TV .  Since Press TV in the past was inviting Derakhshan  to work for this news service , it is possible he was released early because of Mr. Sarfaraz request from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei .  So his release could be called as a starting point (   IRAN WATCH CANADA : Green Light )  for him to work with Press TV.
And while it is an indication that he was in prison but in fact was active in different social activities such as teaching classes for a period of five months about reviewing the Israeli films  in an organization called " Tarjomaan" , also his continues presence on internet ,which brings a lot of question about him being in prison . "
www.tarjomaan.com

Link:
http://www.balatarin.com/topic/2014/11/20/1015413




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Thursday, November 20, 2014

19 Political Prisoners in Iran in a letter to International human rights organizations...


19 political prisoners from the Zahedan central prison in a letter requested from the international human rights organizations to send human rights investigators to the Zahedan central prison in the province of Sistan & Bluchestan . In their letter they said, their condition in the prison is very bad and they also requested from UN general secretary to take action in to their situation.
The letter addressed to :
UN Commissioner of Human Rights
Amnesty International
UN General Secretary
 UN Human Rights Reporter His excellency Ahmed Shaheed

Here are the names of Prisoners :
1-Mohammad Amin Agoshi
2-Sheikh Mohammad Bluchzehi
3-Iraj Mohammadi
4-Ayub Rigi
5-Abdolghani Rigi
6-Malek Mohammad Abadian
7-Javad Abadian
8-Hadi Abadian
9-Jaber Abadian
10-Khatib Mohammad Naghshbandi
11-Abdolghafar Naghshbandi
12-Nezamodin Molazadeh
13-Gol Mohammad Balil Ily
14-Parviz Zeinoldini
15-Jon Mohammad Bari
16- Gholam Mohammad Baluch
17-Zobair Hood
18-Lal Mohammad Shahri
19-Doost Mohammad Nouri
Link:
http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=63715

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News - Hossein Derakhshan The controversial Iranian blogger Is released from Prison.!!???


Hossein Derakhshan is one of the first Iranian blogger in Iran . He left Iran for Canada on 1999 after finishing his studies in Social Science. After spending some time in Canada he then left Canada on 2006 to London to continue his education in Media studies . Because of his activities in creating blogs and blogging and two weeks after return to Iran on 2010 he was arrested and detained , he was first sentenced to 19 and a half years imprisonment , he spend 6 years in prison and the rest of his sentence was pardoned by Khamenei the leader of the Islamic regime .
Hossein Derakhshan is a controversial blogger because before returning to Iran he attacked human rights advocates and journalists .
News about his release came today which shows Hossein Derakhshan as saying  :
" I'm freed , After six years,  Thanks God,  thanks to his excellency Ayatollah Khamenei  and thanks to those who have prayed for me those hard days."

Link:
http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=63720

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Human Rights Watch :Ruling on Official Linked to Protester Deaths


For Immediate Release

Iran: Ruling on Official Linked to Protester Deaths
Former Judiciary Figure Barred from Government Posts

(New York, November 19, 2014) – A Supreme Court ruling barring from government positions a former judiciary figure linked to protester deaths after the disputed 2009 presidential election is a step toward justice, but far from adequate, Human Rights Watch said today. In 2010 a parliamentary committee had found Mortazavi responsible for the deaths of three persons due to his ordering their transfer to the Kahrizak detention facility, where torture was reportedly rife.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on November 15, 2014, that the court had confirmed a Tehran criminal court’s decision to ban the former Tehran prosecutor and judge, Saeed Mortazavi, from ever again holding judicial office and from occupying a government post for five years. He was barred from the positions because of his alleged involvement in 2009 in the “unlawful detention” of protesters, several of whom died. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported on November 16 that Mortazavi plans to challenge the Supreme Court ruling, claiming that it was issued unlawfully.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling against Mortazavi is a belated recognition that high-ranking officials implicated in abuses against detainees should be held accountable,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “But it is not enough just to bar him from office, or to let officials involved in ordering the unlawful detention of protesters, which led to their injury and death, to go scot free.”

The detentions Mortazavi ordered allegedly resulted in the deaths of Amir Javadifar, Mohammad Kamrani, and Mohsen Ruholamini. Mortazavi and other judiciary authorities have denied that the detainees’ deaths were linked to injuries at Kahrizak, which was closed in late 2009 by order of Iran’s supreme leader. After its closure, the authorities prosecuted and convicted a number of mostly low-ranking officials for abuses at Kahrizak, but no high-ranking security or judiciary officials have been convicted and jailed in connection with the torture and deaths of detainees at Kahrizak.

In July 2009, Iran’s parliament set up a Special Parliamentary Committee to Investigate the Status of Post-Election Arrestees to examine allegations of torture and other abuse of detainees arrested as part of the post-election crackdown. The panel’s report, in January 2010, said that Mortazavi claimed that he ordered detainees sent to Kahrizak because of a lack of capacity at Tehran’s main Evin prison. But Evin prison authorities denied that and said they had been ready to accept the detainees.

The panel concluded that Mortazavi’s decision to transfer protesters to Kahrizak was “not justifiable even if Evin did not have the capacity” to take them, and ruled that Mortazavi was responsible for the deaths of Javadifar, Kamrani, and Ruholamini. The inquiry also named Ali Akbar Heidarifard and Hasan Haddad Dehnavi, two of Mortazavi’s deputies, as suspects in the case.

In December 2009, a military court tried 11 police officers and a private citizen who allegedly collaborated with the police on murder charges arising from the deaths of detainees at Kahrizak. On June 30, 2010, Iranian media reported that the court had convicted all but one of the defendants, sentencing two to death as well as fines, lashings, and compensation payments to the victims’ families. Nine others were sentenced to undisclosed prison terms and fines. The court acquitted the highest-ranking defendant, General Azizollah Rajabzadeh, Tehran’s police chief at the time of the 2009 crackdown, of all charges.

The military court conducted the trial behind closed doors and failed to investigate senior police and judiciary officials such as Mortazavi, Dehnavi and Heidarifard, and Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam and Ahmad-Reza Radan, respectively commander and deputy commander of the Law Enforcement Forces, which operated the Kahrizak facility at the time of the detainees’ deaths.

Soon after the military court’s ruling, family members of the detainees who died at Kahrizak declared that they had forgiven the two officers the court sentenced to death so that the families could “witness the punishment of the real perpetrators.” The families have since pursued their case against Mortazavi, Dehnavi, and Heidarifard, whom they hold responsible.

Mortazavi and his two former deputies all lost their positions in the judiciary – and thus their immunity against prosecution – in 2010 as a result of the investigations into their involvement in the deaths at Kahrizak. Despite the evidence linking Mortazavi to serious rights abuses, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Mortazavi to cabinet posts, first as head of Iran’s Task Force Against Smuggling and later as head of the Social Security Organization.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on the Iranian authorities to publicly disclose the number and status of official criminal investigations into the role of Mortazavi and other high-ranking officials for the abuses perpetrated at Kahrizak, and to investigate and prosecute Mortazavi for his alleged involvement in other serious rights abuses.

“If the Iranian authorities have evidence that senior figures were responsible for torture or deaths in custody, they need to do more than reduce their job opportunities,” Whitson said. “They need to show that officials responsible for such crimes can be brought to justice if they are to demonstrate that Iran is on the path to real rights reform, let alone convince the victims’ families that justice has been served.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/iran

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Faraz Sanei (English, Persian): +1-310-428-0153 (mobile); or +1-212-216-1290; or saneif@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @farazsanei
In New York, Sarah Leah Whitson (English): +1-718-362-0172 (mobile); or whitsos@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @sarah

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